Beef Rendang: Southeast-Asian Curry

Delicious Rendang Curry!

 Darlene Schmidt

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 65 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
574 Calories
30g Fat
41g Carbs
39g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 574
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 18g 89%
Cholesterol 88mg 29%
Sodium 1942mg 84%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Protein 39g
Calcium 176mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Rendang is one of the most flavorful curries in the world. If you're a curry fan, it's a must-try. Rendang has its roots in Indonesian/Malaysian cuisine but is also popular in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, Sri Lanka, and other Asian countries.

This authentic recipe turns out tender and simply inundated with flavor. It is a recipe from family in Malaysia and Thailand who have shared their secret spice-paste ingredients and the trick for making the beef tender.

This is a simple recipe even an inexperienced cook can handle. Yes, the ingredients list is long, but the steps are easy to follow and well worth the effort. Soon you'll be enjoying a sumptuous curry dish that is as good as any restaurant rendang, maybe even better. For a chicken version, try Indonesian Redang Curry with Chicken.


  • 3/4 to 1 pound beef
  • 3 to 4 cups stock (chicken or beef)
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • Garnish: fresh coriander
  • For the Rendang Paste:
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (finely sliced, OR 3 tablespoons frozen prepared lemongrass)
  • 1 onion (peeled and quartered)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 piece galangal (or ginger, thumb-sized)
  • 1 to 3 red chilis (de-seeded if less heat is desired or 1/3 to 3/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes)
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamarind paste (or substitute 2 tablespoons lime juice)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ​shrimp paste (or substitute 1 tablespoon more fish sauce)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are several steps to this recipe for beef rendang, they are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Beef

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place whole piece(s) of beef in a pot and cover with stock. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes (this step makes for tender rendang as opposed to tough or rubbery).

  3. When beef is done simmering (it should be starting to feel tender when pierced with a fork), remove from the stock and cut into bite-size chunks or strips. Reserve 1/2 cup of the stock for cooking the curry and discard the rest (or use for other recipes).

Make the Rendang Paste

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Meanwhile, place lemongrass, onion, garlic, galangal, chiles, tamarind paste, chilis, brown sugar, both soy sauces, fish sauce, oil, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and shrimp paste in a food processor or large chopper or blender.

  3. Process well to create a dark, very fragrant curry paste (if using a blender, add half the coconut milk at this stage to help blend ingredients).

Finish the Dish

  1. Place the cut beef into a wok or large frying pan. Add the rendang paste and stir to coat the beef. Set over medium-high heat. When the paste starts to sizzle, add reserved stock (1/2 cup) and coconut milk. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, until you get a gentle simmer. Cover and cook 30 minutes or longer, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until you're happy with the tenderness of the beef.

  2. Taste-test the rendang, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough, or more tamarind or lime juice if too salty for your taste. Top with fresh coriander or lime leaves, and serve with Thai jasmine rice or easy Thai coconut rice.

  3. Enjoy!

Note: Rendang is a drier kind of curry, which means the spices really stick to the meat and there isn't a lot of sauce. If you'd prefer more sauce, you can add more coconut milk—just be sure to add more fish sauce as well to keep the intense flavor of the dish.